Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.

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Last month's feature articles...

Stuart Butler

How your hotel handles the guest relationship is one of the most critical components to running a successful property. Often, the approach that is taken with guests while they are on property is mirrored in the manner in which your property responds to online reviews. In this article, we break down some of the good, the bad, and the ugly responses that real hotels have made to negative online reviews and we discuss ways to limit the damage the original review may have caused, while also avoiding making things worse. READ MORE

Kathleen Hayn

In today's interconnected world of marketing, social media remains a growing area for businesses to attract new customers on various platforms to grow their brand. Now companies in every industry are integrating Influencer Marketing within their campaigns as a new way to reach audiences on various platforms. As this practice evolves, there are various best practices that should be followed when executing an Influencer Marketing campaign such as picking the right platform and being aware of what metrics are crucial to monitor. This article will take you through the foundational do's and don'ts when it comes to working with an influencer to promote your business. READ MORE

Janelle Schwartz

Hoteliers must be plugged into social media 24/7 to know what's happening and be ready to provide meaningful and helpful posts when there's a crisis. Just as anyone with a social media account can post bad news, the same technology can enable organizations to defend themselves and share information that may help mitigate a crisis. Comprehensive social listening can help organizations gain insights about issues before they escalate into a crisis, provide advance warning that a crisis is brewing, help identify problem issues and provide enough information to develop a strategy to address them. READ MORE

Dean Minett

Social media has opened up wonderful new opportunities for hoteliers, but has also exposed them to a range of new risks. Our reputations are closely linked to guest reviews, and our style of engagement affects how the public see our properties. Avenues for advertising have taken new shapes with the rise of social media influencers, while the forward march of technology and service trends is never-ending. It wouldn't be smart to plug your ears and ignore it all (as there is a lot of leverage to be gained through social media) but at what point does the noise become deafening? At one point should a hotel ignore the growing buzz and be loyal to its own identity? READ MORE

Bruce Seigel

Launching a new social media channel can be daunting. Whether debuting a brand new property, renovating an outlet or seeking to expand existing hotel channels; it is important to develop a strong brand voice, leverage influencers, curate content and consistently engage with users. Guests follow the property social media handles to learn more, engage with the property, and share their experiences with friends and family. Developing and maintaining strong social media channels are a critical part of brand reputation and guest engagement. READ MORE

Christina Leme

Twitter is just like the new world of online dating. You need to swipe right on (signal affinity for) many potential suitors to match with just one normal person. And getting a match is only the start. You still need to spark a conversation and tailor it to the interests they've indicated on their profile. Careful though! If you take too long to answer, they may lose interest. Or worse-inundate you with angry follow up messages for "ghosting" them. READ MORE

Megan (Sterritt) Taylor

For the past several years working with influencers has been a cost-effective tool for brands, including hotels and resorts, to reach target markets. But as an influencer's follower count gets higher and higher, so too does their partnership fee. A better option now is micro-influencers and nano-influencers. They allow brands to significantly narrow down targets without a very large fee. And, with precision targeting, help brands reach new markets. In the article, we will take a look at three ways KWE Partners helped client Grand Velas reach new markets without increasing their budget. READ MORE

Mia Schipani

Personalization and "people relations" have become a priority for businesses and especially hotels to succeed today. As always, relationship-building has been the key to sales and marketing successes across all industries. Businesses that proactively invest in their relationships with a human-touch, reap the best return on their investments, says Mia Schipani, President of Schipani PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in hospitality. READ MORE

Babs S. Harrison

Traditional media - remember them? In the rush to embrace social media, plenty of hotel and resort sales, marketing and PR executives have lost sight of the onetime mainstays of influence but they are missing out on grand opportunities to get their messages out. Traditional media have almost become a secret weapon among savvy marketers - the power is there if you know how to harness it. That's what this article is about: Integrating traditional media into a full throttle campaign that hits all the 21st-century buttons - and a few now neglected 20th-century ones too! READ MORE

Gio Palatucci

At the intersection of hospitality social media campaigns and esteemed industry influencers, you'll find a select few social media users fraudulently touting tremendous influence over their too-good-to-be-true number of followers. The social media influencer industry is not going away anytime soon, so it's more important than ever to keep your brand safe and in the eyes of your target audiences. Marketers are finally talking about the issue of influencer fraud openly, to put these potential negative brand representatives on notice. A watchful eye for influencer red flags will help hotel brands search, recruit and manage influencers for a positive campaign. READ MORE

Garrett Kingsbury

For hotels, using Instagram is a win-win, it's free and the opportunity for engagement is endless – as long as you're using the platform in a compelling way. With over a billion active users, Instagram is quickly gaining steam as the social platform of choice, with much higher engagement over Facebook. Although smaller, the IG community is loyal and more active with brands. If you're new to Instagram, or just looking for a few tips to keep your content engaging, we've put together a quick guide of Dos and Don'ts to make your IG account a fan favorite. READ MORE

Gaurav Varma

A growing number of brands and businesses are using social media to tell a more authentic story and to connect with consumers of all demographics. Social media marketing for businesses means more than just posting content on these platforms but its more around building trust and forming meaningful long-term relationships with their audiences. 2018 was an interesting year with several opportunities and saw the rapid growth of live and dynamic content across social channels. As 2019 kicks off we are going to see another year when social media use and adaption will grow and engagement between users will be key to drive the use of the platforms. Hotels can leverage this opportunity to connect with guests and deliver meaningful experiences which eventually will lead to better outcomes for their business. READ MORE

Stephanie Hilger

Creating original content is imperative in order for your brand to stand out; however, curated content is equally important. If it does not already, user generated content (more commonly referred to as UGC), should play an integral role in your social media content plan. User generated content is an essential part of content curation and easy to come across if you know where to look and how to encourage guest participation. Not sure where to start? Encouraging guests to share their stories is easy if your hotel team implements these three methods. READ MORE

Brandon Billings

Today, hotels are keenly positioned across social media to attract Generation Z and Millennials to drive new and incremental bookings to their property. This younger generation is highly influenced by social media when choosing their next weekend getaway or vacation. Hotels have to be part of the social conversation to drive revenues with these younger generations. The following article highlights opportunities for hotels to connect with these younger travelers by developing an overarching strategic approach, building break-through social content and aligning to an overarching measurement strategy. READ MORE

Arielle Rubenstein

Like any other digital marketing discipline's strategy, social media advertising requires careful consideration of the buyer journey and purchase funnel. Building funnels within any advertising management platform can be less than intuitive and seem like a job meant only for digital savvy professionals. In this article, Screen Pilot Social Media Manager Arielle Rubenstein will walk through the high-level planning steps necessary to create a successful Facebook advertising funnel to get you started. From audience targeting to bridging the gap between brand awareness and retargeting to budget management, these five steps will optimize Facebook advertising strategy to fit any goal - for any hotel marketing team. READ MORE

Nicholas Pardon

Looking to solve the social media puzzle, but don't know where to start? Mimicking or copying other Instagram or Facebook accounts that have lots of followers is not going to give your property the results you're looking for. To see real social media success, create a plan tailored to your property or hospitality business by Finding Your Why. Define the unique social media why that inspires people to follow you and keeps them coming back for more. Learn how to define your why and how to use gamification, user-generated content and hashtags to reinforce it across the social media realm - growing your followers and engagement, and driving more customers your way in the process. READ MORE

Coming up in June 2020...

Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.